As a thinker, one should only think of self-education. The education of youth by others is either an experiment, conducted on one yet unknown and unknowable, or a leveling on principle, to make the new character, whatever it may be, conform to the habits and cutoms that prevail: in both cases, therefore, something unworthy of the thinker – the work of parents and teachers, whom an audaciously honest person has called nos ennemis naturels.
One day, when in the opinion of the world one has long been educated, one discovers onself: that is where the task of the thinker begins; now the time has come to invoke his aid – not as an educator but as one who has educated himself and thus has experience.
from The Wanderer And His Shadow
A little late for Cinqo De Mayo, but funny & thought provoking at the same time…
When is a Rose not a Rose?
Perhaps when we no longer see the beauty that surrounds us & we take nature for granted…
“Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering –every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them. Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling. Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?”
from The Republic
Even in ancient times, it seems, the wise understood that the masses could not appreciate the value of Philosophy. Yet in these times of Democracy as Manifest Destiny, is it not more important then ever that the Philosophical Voice be heard, heeded & understood?
I am currently about half way through writing a short little book entittled “The Journey” that I hope to publish in order to get this project going. I want this book to be short, to the point & work as a first step to get Individuals interested in a community whose sole goal & raison-d’être is to help everyone lead an happier & more fulfilled life. It is the first step to achieving this goal.
Photo c/o t3rmin4t0r via Flickr
LIFE IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION
“I just need to start writing…”
That is what I told myself this morning after thinking about the many different possible ways to go about this project. So here I go.
Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud. It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.
In German, the technical terminology of psychology and philosophy distinguishes between Angst and Furcht in that Furcht is a negative anticipation regarding a concrete threat, while Angst is a non-directional and unmotivated emotion. In common language, however, Angst is the normal word for “fear”, while Furcht is an elevated synonym.
In other languages having the meaning of the Latin word pavor for “fear”, the derived words differ in meaning, e.g. as in the French anxiété and peur. The word Angst has existed since the 8th century, from the Proto-Indo-European root*anghu-, “restraint” from which Old High German angust developed. It is pre-cognate with the Latin angustia, “tensity, tightness” and angor, “choking, clogging”; compare to the Ancient Greek ἄγχω (ankho) “strangle”.
I am one who counts myself a part of Generation X. As such, perhaps I have had a generational predisposition toward “Angst”. In so many of the cultural endeavours & thoughts of my generation – not to mention the Philosophies I studied at University – this idea of “Angst” has predominated. From the Grunge music I listened to, to the philosophical ideas of the Existentialists – this idea coursed through my final years of formal education.
So am I filled with Angst?
Do you take me as a scarecrow?
Do I not yearn to fly?
Crucified and stuffed with straw, condemned to live a lie
from Dirge For A Mutinous Philosopher
The image of a lonely Scarecrow protecting a farmer’s field is an archetype most of us can envision instantly. There they stand, lonely & protective – yet ultimately powerless. As Captain Vulpine says in his amazing song: “condemned to live a lie”
“We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.”
– Jean Paul Sartre
About a week or so ago I posted some Sartre quotes & promised to share my thoughts on this famous Existentialist’s words. The above quote has always sparked deep ideas in my mind. Let me expand on some of my thoughts…
We are born, creatures in this existence, with endless Possibility laid out before us. Anything & everything is Possible. All it takes is for us to decide – to Choose what we want. Yet the problem is we rarely know what we want. Sure, we are told a lot of things as we grow up & experience the world around us. Our parents, our teachers, our friends & society in general tell us all about the good life & what we should expect & want out of it. Yet do any of these things Truly equate with what we want as Individuals?